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To gild something is literally to make it appear gold, and gilding as a technique involves the application of a thin coating of gold to a surface. Gilt furniture refers to pieces produced using any of several techniques, from the application of gold leaf or gold paint to a surface, to the use of chemical processes to produce a golden patina (such as in ormolu or bronze doré).
Gilt furniture became popular during the Baroque, when dramatic and vibrant colour was an important stylistic attribute. Gilding remained a popular decorative technique and aesthetic style during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when gilt bronze, particularly gilt bronze mounts, was prized as a symbol of luxury and excellence. Gilt furniture retains these connotations to this day, as demonstrated by Mayfair Gallery’s extensive collection of antique gilt furniture visible below.
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